Part 1878 – One, Two, Together

As Barbara waited for Sarah, she practiced her steps in the Gawk At The Dress area.

“One, two, together. One, two, together.”

One. That’s me.

Two. That’s Ambrose.

Together. That’s us.

She stopped. “How am I going to remember this when I see him standing there?”

I’ll probably go charging at him – onetwothreefourfivesixseven. No decorum. No solemnity. Forget all about well-paced steps.

But I will have Dad with me. He’ll hold onto my arm. He’ll anchor me as he has done all of my life.

She resumed her practice steps. “One, two, together. One. Two. Together.”

One. Me.

Two. Dad.

Together. Us without Mom.

Mom.

I hope you’ll see me. I hope you’ll be there. Even if you can’t show yourself. Even if I don’t see you.

I hope that you’ll be there. Maybe not so much for my sake, but for Dad’s sake. He needs you to be there. He misses you so much, Mom. Maybe not as bad as before. He is very happy with Elsie’s mom. But I know he’s still hurting for you.

I guess I’ll be the same way when Ambrose dies. And there’s a good chance that he will die before me. He is a vampire. He faces danger every night. Every night is a new possibility that I won’t see him again.

That’s the only thing that really scares me about marrying him.

But how could I not marry him? How could I ever let him go? How could I say to him, “I don’t want you” and walk away from him? How could I ever say that and have it be the truth? How could I say it and not crumble?

I love him, Mom. I love him.

“One, two, together.”

One. I.

Two. Love him.

Together. I love him.

And I always will.

The seamstress pulled the changing room curtain aside.

Barbara stopped walking.

Sarah stepped forward, looking like a young princess. The dress was cut and stitched to fit her perfectly.

The seamstress launched into a long dissertation of all of the alterations she’d put that dress through.

Sarah gave Barbara a questioning look.

Barbara smiled. “It’s wonderful.”

Sarah grinned and clapped her hands.

****

Sarah stood next to Barbara as the young woman paid for the dress. She thought about what Barbara had told her about being a bridesmaid.

“It’s very simple. All you have to do is walk up the aisle all the way to the altar rail, turn left, and stand there. You don’t have to say anything or do anything. Just stand there with a bunch of flowers in your hands.”

She frowned at the recollection of that last line.

A bunch of flowers. What did that even mean? Would she be holding just big handfuls of flowers in each hand? What was she supposed to even do with the flowers? Was she supposed to hand it off to someone after they all left the church? Was she supposed to throw them in the garbage? Was she supposed to give them back to Barbara?

So many questions and no answers.

It was a very frustrating situation. Her inability to speak out loud normally didn’t bother her or worry her all that much. She couldn’t remember a time when she could speak.

There was a lot she could not remember.

But this was one of those moments when having the power of speech would have been a wonderful thing.

But Carthage had stolen that power away from her.

Sarah’s frown deepened.

Carthage.

She had done the right thing in rejecting him. She knew this.

Yet.

He was her father. He would have taken care of her. Or maybe not.

He would have helped her regain her voice and her memories. Or maybe not.

He would have loved her. Wouldn’t he?

Maybe yes. Maybe no.

She kicked the checkout desk as she remembered.

Needles.

Sharp, thick needles. Jabbing her. Piercing her skin. Stabbing her bones.

So much pain.

Flames.

Hungry, devouring flames. Scorching through her. Heating her skin. Hurting her.

And she couldn’t cry out.

And she couldn’t scream.

She had no words. She had no voice.

She cried and screamed in silence.

No. He clearly did not love her at all.

He would never love her.

She would never mean anything to him. That was clear as clear as clear.

Sarah grabbed Barbara’s wrist and held on for dear life.

Maybe it would always be an ache inside of her. Maybe it would always be an unfixable hurt, but she would never go back to him. She would never hunt him down.

Sarah looked up at the young woman at her side and smiled.

She knew without a doubt.

Sarah was right where she belonged.

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